… while wearing my Vote for Science t-shirt and getting kind comments from a few members of the staff because “Jefferson would have approved”, I’m in a somewhat more intellectually reflective mood this evening. As a result, I thought I’d dust off this post from last May, since I am continuing to be dismayed, and somewhat frightened, by the anti-intellectual, and outright anti-science, stance that our federal government keeps doubling down on.
“The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.”
— James Madison
Our founders understood science, technology, and the acquisition of knowledge to be critical to our country’s survival. All of them supported public education, under the premise that only an educated populace could safeguard our liberty and prevent us from falling into tyranny.
Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution specifies that one of the things that Congress has the power to do is to ‘promote the Progress of Science and the useful Arts‘. They were given that power to encourage technological growth an innovation by protecting the rights of those that did the work. It was, in fact, the basis for Copyright law, and Patents. And it should not be lost that Thomas Jefferson considered himself a scientist first and foremost, and even the military leader that brought us to victory, George Washington, said, in his first address to Congress:
“There is nothing which can better deserve your patronage, than the promotion of Science and Literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of publick happiness.”
We seem to have lost sight of that somewhere along the way. Our future depends upon resetting our bearings.
Photo of the Monticello, March 30, 2018.